You may have heard vinegar (especially apple cider vinegar) could help you shed pounds, or you might have tried the apple cider vinegar diet. But knowing more about whether this diet is safe and effective will help you determine if it's worth a shot.
Does Vinegar Enhance Weight Loss?
Ingesting apple cider vinegar may aid in weight loss, but more research is needed. One 2016 study found rats who ingested 7 milliliters of apple cider vinegar per kilogram of body weight daily (for 30 days) lost weight, consumed less food, lost body fat, and had improvements in blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
Another study published in 2009 says vinegar helps keep body fat low in animal studies, and it found obese adults who ingested 2 cups of a beverage containing 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar daily for 12 weeks had lower body weights, body mass indexes, waist circumferences, belly fat, and triglyceride levels compared with study subjects who didn't ingest vinegar-containing drinks.
However, not all studies show benefits from apple cider vinegar for weight loss. A 2014 review published in Nutrition Reviews found that while some studies say vinegar is helpful for reducing high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and obesity, other studies show no benefits from vinegar. Mayo Clinic suggests that while using apple cider vinegar occasionally is safe for most people, it likely won't lead to weight loss.
Why It May Work
Many apple cider vinegar diets suggest consuming small amounts of vinegar throughout the day or drinking vinegar mixed with water. Cider vinegar is low in calories, containing just 3 calories per tablespoon. Numerous studies show drinking water before meals aids in weight loss. For example, a study published in 2013 found drinking 2 cups of water before meals enhances weight loss in overweight and obese adults. So theoretically, mixing 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of water and consuming this mixture before meals may lead to weight loss, as doing so boosts satiety without the extra calories.
Regardless of wether you consume vinegar (or drink vinegar mixed with water), healthy eating and regular physical activity are the keys to effective weight loss. The reason drinking water (or water plus vinegar) before meals enhances weight loss is because it helps you eat fewer calories at meal time. Lowering your food intake is ultimately what helps shed pounds.
What to Expect When Using Vinegar
There isn't an official guideline saying how much vinegar you should consume daily for weight loss, as studies are mixed as to whether vinegar is effective. Apple cider vinegar is available in supplement (pill) form, but these supplements can be expensive and may not offer the same weight loss benefits as consuming apple cider vinegar mixed with water as a satiety booster.
While apple cider vinegar may possibly aid in weight loss, it comes with potential risks as well. One 2012 study found drinking a glass of apple cider vinegar daily erodes teeth. Mayo Clinic cautions apple cider vinegar may irritate your throat, interact with certain medications (such as insulin and diuretics), or contribute to low potassium levels when consumed in large amounts.
Should You Drink Cider Vinegar?
Whether you drink apple cider vinegar for weight loss is entirely up to you (and your doctor), but it's important to weigh potential pros with possible drawbacks. If you like the taste of cider vinegar, mixing a small amount of it (1 to 2 tablespoons) with 2 cups of water and drinking it before meals may aid in weight loss. Drinking plain water (or water flavored with fruit chunks) before meals will likely do the trick as well, as doing so boosts satiety.